Opting Out: How To Let Email Subscribers Go

Here we look at best practices for email unsubscribes to ensure you aren’t classified as spam and also deliver more profitable campaigns.

Email newsletters and marketing campaigns are a low-cost and effective way to reach your audience, however, it’s a fact that people will unsubscribe from your email marketing list. And they’ll do it for a whole range of reasons. Whatever the reason is, your unsubscribe process can leave a lasting impression of your business. Nearly half of the people who unsubscribe do so because they’re inundated with too many emails or find the content repetitive.

Mishandling the unsubscribe process can have an impact on your brand’s reputation and bottom line. So by handling the unsubscribe process well,  you might even convince the odd subscriber to stay.


The fact is that about 80-90% of all email on the internet is spam. In spite of this, businesses anticipate increasing the number of email campaigns. When a recipient flags your communication as spam, Google receives a copy of it, which it may analyse to protect others. This means that over time, more reports might put your brand in the spam folder instead of in front of your audience —so your email campaigns may become less effective and your brand less relevant.

Sending unsolicited emails is riskier than ever especially with the new GDPR laws in place. 

Opt-out best practices

An email subscriber can opt out on good terms and provide you with actionable insights as to why they want out, or they can flag your brand as spam.  Remember, don’t make it difficult for a user to unsubscribe – why would you make it difficult and take a choice and change it to a negative brand experience? Ensure that you’re not frustrating recipients with unsubscribe links that blend into the background of the email or requiring them to log in before they can opt out.

Try providing an “opt-down” option – unsubscribing doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition so consider giving users other options such as reducing the frequency of communications.


Ensure that your unsubscribe link is safe and should have an SSL certificate. If it doesn’t, it may cast doubt on the legitimacy of your brand as well as drive recipients to mark your messages as spam instead of risking a security breach to unsubscribe.

Find out why

Whatever the way in which you enable unsubscribes, be sure to measure and track unsubscribes over time as those trends can be signals of poor content or poor marketing targeting etc. Think of the opt-out as an opportunity to gather data you can use to improve your content marketing.

Proactively remove disengaged subscribers

 If recipients aren’t opening your emails, then they’re definitely not clicking through to your site and that can skew your click through rates. Get more accurate metrics by removing subscribers who haven’t opened your emails or engaged with your brand in a long time.

Email those recipients to let them know they’ve been removed from the list due to inactivity. Lead with a clear subject line and provide a link to opt back in.

Following these practices can keep you off spam lists, allow you to generate more effective messaging, most importantly, keep your email efforts profitable.